My boyfriend and I are endurance athletes. When our Labrador, Iggy, passed away we knew our next dog needed to be one that could keep up with us and be ready to hit the trails/roads for 50 plus miles a week.
We knew of another endurance athlete who had a German Shorthaired Pointer. She and her pup would run 20 miles at a time, multiple days a week. We found the GSP Rescue website and I made the call (really I sent the email). We were lucky enough to be paired up with the sweetest GSP on earth, who we named, Bella Mae.
Immediately, I fell in love with Bella and the breed and offered to foster for the group. I have since had multiple pups come through my home. I have taught them all to run with me. At first many of them were scared of the street noises, too interested in other dogs, birds and anything else that was small and moved. But with a bit of patience and choosing to never give up, my fosters learn to love what is as natural for a GSP as eating...running. Nothing gets these guys more excited than me putting on my running shoes.
We hit the road at least 4 and most often 5 to 6 times a week. We go anywhere from 5 miles to 18 miles. They run with me on the trails, on the road, doing my slow runs, helping to pace me on my speed workouts and they never complain. If it is raining, hot, cold, early, late, they are always ready for a run.
There was a study done at the Humane Society of St. Joseph. They interviewed 308 people who surrendered their dogs to the shelter. Of these 308, 90% of them gave up their dogs for reasons attributed to hyperactivity or boredom. Less than 8% of the dogs were surrendered due to aggression. Hyperactive and bored are not states in which you often find my dogs. I tell people all the time, when you adopt a dog you are making a commitment to that animal to keep them healthy and happy. And my moto is "a tired dog is a happy dog."
BMX skijoring with Marla, Leo, Bella and Kent
Bikejoring is a great way to tire your GSP out quickly. If you've thrown the ball until your arm is about to fall off, have walked all over the neighborhood and your GSP is still ready for more...then you should try Bikejoring. All you need is a harness, lead and a bike. I bought my equipment here http://www.thedogoutdoors.com/skijoring-canicross-dog-jogging-gear.html.
- Bikejoring has risks.
- You will likely fall off the bike and have accidents when training and doing bikejoring.
- Wear proper safety equipment, especially a helmet. Don't bikejor on busy streets.
- Your dog often determines how fast and what angle you take in your turns, so a little bit of training can go along way in keeping you rubber side down.